Physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking wasn't just a brilliant scientist who helped to advance our understanding of the universe -- he was a fierce spirit who symbolized the foibles and complexities inherent in human nature. Take our brief quiz to learn more about the author of "A Brief History of Time."
Question of 10
Stephen Hawking was one of the most famous physicists in history. Where was he born?
Hawking was born in Oxford, England in 1942. He died in Cambridge on March 14, 2018, at the age of 76.
What was one of Hawking's nicknames as a boy?
Hawking was often cited as a lackadaisical student in his classes. But his peers dubbed him Einstein -- perhaps they saw something that some of Hawking's teachers missed.
As a graduate student, Hawking was diagnosed with what disease?
Lou Gehrig's disease (ALS)
When he was a graduate student, Hawking was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig's disease. It's called motor neuron disease in England. Hawking was doubly unfortunate, as the rare condition typically doesn't strike people until they are in their 50s.
After being diagnosed with ALS, doctors gave Hawking about how much time to live?
about two months
perhaps two years
Doctors figured that Hawking would survive his condition for about two and a half years. But Hawking was an outlier (in many ways) during his extraordinary life -- he survived for another half a century following his dire diagnosis.
maybe 12 years
What was often said about Hawking's most famous book?
It explains big ideas in a very simple way.
It's a book everyone wants to have read, but hardly anyone finishes.
In 1988, Hawking published his best-known book, "A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes." It sold more than 10 million copies and became known as the book that everyone placed in full view on their coffee tables ... but no one really understood it.
It was OK but it was no match for Carl Sagan's "Cosmos."
In 1970, Hawking's research theorized that ______ emit radiation.
In his early career, Hawking was certain that black holes trapped any and all types of energy. But his now-famous equation used elements of general relativity to theorize that black holes actually do emit radiation.
From 1979 to 2009, Hawking held the post of Lucasian professor at Cambridge University. Which other world-renowned scientist had held that same position?
Sir Isaac Newton
Newton held that chair for 33 years, starting in 1669.
Sir Alexander Fleming
Hawking was severely disabled for much of his adult life. His personality was often described as ______.
Hawking was known as a stubbornly independent man who scoffed at sympathy and pity for his condition. He was so brash, in fact, that he sometimes generated friction with family, friends and colleagues.
Hawking began his acting career on which program?
"Star Trek: The Next Generation"
In 1993, Hawking took up acting with an appearance on "Star Trek: The Next Generation," where he played himself. He later acted on "The Simpsons," "The Big Bang Theory," and "Futurama."
"The Big Bang Theory"
What did Hawking ask to be engraved on his headstone?
a poem about the stars
a scientific formula
Hawking's most famous formula was all about the entropy of black holes, and he knew it would probably be regarded as his highest achievement. He requested that the formula be inscribed onto his gravestone.
a political quote